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Home and Homelessness in the Medieval and Renaissance World

Home and Homelessness in the Medieval and Renaissance World

Edited by Nicholas Howe

“This book will be essential reading for scholars in medieval and early modern studies. Social historians, literary scholars, and intellectual historians will find much here to be illuminating.” —Robert M. Stein, Purchase College, SUNY and Columbia University

This collection of original essays serves as a set of case studies for exploring the ways in which people experienced home and homelessness between the eighth and sixteenth centuries. Arranged in reverse chronological order, the volume considers precise examples of the need for (or lack of) shelter and a place to call one’s own in cultures ranging from Venice, Spain, and Latin America to Iceland and Anglo-Saxon England.

Patricia Fortini Brown translates the floor plans of houses and the layouts of neighborhoods of Renaissance Venice into a broad understanding of that city’s social and political arrangements. Her study focuses on the home as a reflection of social status, financial resources, and political power. Mary Elizabeth Perry demonstrates how the privacy of home can enable the survival of an outlawed religion. She examines the ways in which the physical spaces and protected courtyards of Spanish homes allowed Moriscos to maintain their Islamic faith after the Reconquista. Sabine McCormack articulates the paradox that arose in sixteenth-century Peru when the conquering Spainards made a triumphant new home for themselves by forcing homelessness on many of the indigenous peoples.

William Ian Miller considers the unique case of home and homelessness in medieval Iceland, in which scattered settlements in “the middle of nowhere” were held together by a complex legal system, and in which the early legal texts and narrative stories of making a strange landscape familiar and domestic are central to the Icelandic sense of “home.” By drawing on the lexical and textual evidence that survives from Old English, Nicholas Howe supplements the available archaeological materials and offers new ways of examining home and
homelessness in Anglo-Saxon England.

Featuring the writings of some of the most influential scholars in history, art history, and literary studies, Home and Homelessness in the Medieval and Renaissance World presents a fascinating series of studies that cover a

ISBN: 978-0-268-03069-8
184 pages
Publication Year: 2004

Nicholas Howe (1953–2006) was professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Migration and Mythmaking in Anglo-Saxon England, and editor of Visions of Community in the Pre-Modern World, both published by the University of Notre Dame Press.

“All the essays deal with the obvious physical nature of the home, its architecture, is archaeology, its material culture. More importantly, they interpret and analyze the meaning of home, the mentality, if you will, in the cultural context of Renaissance Venice, Morisco Spain, colonial Peru, medieval Iceland, and Anglo-Saxon England. . . . Nicholas Howe is to be commended for putting together such a tightly focused collection of essays, each of high quality that integrates well with the others.” — American Historical Review

“Nicholas Howe has brilliantly assembled an impressive crew to produce the fresh and important essays collected in Home and Homelessness in the Medieval and Renaissance World.” — Bibliotheque D’Humanisme et Renaissance

“. . . this volume is an excellent attempt to demonstrate the descriptive, legal, and architectural sources that can be employed to study the concept of home. Howe also deserves praise for raising the historical awareness of homelessness, a subject that merits increased scholarly attention and a rigorous interdisciplinary analytical framework.” — Renaissance Quarterly

“. . . a convenient introduction to a complex topic, written for professional historians and university students.” — History: Reviews of New Books

“The authors of the five essays in this rewarding collection are deeply sensitive to the varieties of meaning attached to the home, then and now. . . . This book is a fine microcosm of contemporary studies.” — Journal of Interdisciplinary History

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Nicole R. Rice and Margaret Aziza Pappano

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Law, Rulership, and Rhetoric

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Foreword by Horst Fuhrmann

Home and Homelessness in the Medieval and Renaissance World


Edited by Nicholas Howe

 Home and Homelessness in the Medieval and Renaissance World
Cloth Edition
Paper Edition

“This book will be essential reading for scholars in medieval and early modern studies. Social historians, literary scholars, and intellectual historians will find much here to be illuminating.” —Robert M. Stein, Purchase College, SUNY and Columbia University

This collection of original essays serves as a set of case studies for exploring the ways in which people experienced home and homelessness between the eighth and sixteenth centuries. Arranged in reverse chronological order, the volume considers precise examples of the need for (or lack of) shelter and a place to call one’s own in cultures ranging from Venice, Spain, and Latin America to Iceland and Anglo-Saxon England.

Patricia Fortini Brown translates the floor plans of houses and the layouts of neighborhoods of Renaissance Venice into a broad understanding of that city’s social and political arrangements. Her study focuses on the home as a reflection of social status, financial resources, and political power. Mary Elizabeth Perry demonstrates how the privacy of home can enable the survival of an outlawed religion. She examines the ways in which the physical spaces and protected courtyards of Spanish homes allowed Moriscos to maintain their Islamic faith after the Reconquista. Sabine McCormack articulates the paradox that arose in sixteenth-century Peru when the conquering Spainards made a triumphant new home for themselves by forcing homelessness on many of the indigenous peoples.

William Ian Miller considers the unique case of home and homelessness in medieval Iceland, in which scattered settlements in “the middle of nowhere” were held together by a complex legal system, and in which the early legal texts and narrative stories of making a strange landscape familiar and domestic are central to the Icelandic sense of “home.” By drawing on the lexical and textual evidence that survives from Old English, Nicholas Howe supplements the available archaeological materials and offers new ways of examining home and
homelessness in Anglo-Saxon England.

Featuring the writings of some of the most influential scholars in history, art history, and literary studies, Home and Homelessness in the Medieval and Renaissance World presents a fascinating series of studies that cover a

ISBN: 978-0-268-03069-8

184 pages

“All the essays deal with the obvious physical nature of the home, its architecture, is archaeology, its material culture. More importantly, they interpret and analyze the meaning of home, the mentality, if you will, in the cultural context of Renaissance Venice, Morisco Spain, colonial Peru, medieval Iceland, and Anglo-Saxon England. . . . Nicholas Howe is to be commended for putting together such a tightly focused collection of essays, each of high quality that integrates well with the others.” — American Historical Review

“Nicholas Howe has brilliantly assembled an impressive crew to produce the fresh and important essays collected in Home and Homelessness in the Medieval and Renaissance World.” — Bibliotheque D’Humanisme et Renaissance

“. . . this volume is an excellent attempt to demonstrate the descriptive, legal, and architectural sources that can be employed to study the concept of home. Howe also deserves praise for raising the historical awareness of homelessness, a subject that merits increased scholarly attention and a rigorous interdisciplinary analytical framework.” — Renaissance Quarterly

“. . . a convenient introduction to a complex topic, written for professional historians and university students.” — History: Reviews of New Books

“The authors of the five essays in this rewarding collection are deeply sensitive to the varieties of meaning attached to the home, then and now. . . . This book is a fine microcosm of contemporary studies.” — Journal of Interdisciplinary History